Wizards Numerology: On Health and Minutes | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Wizards Numerology: On Health and Minutes

Updated: December 23, 2014


Sometimes you’ve wondered if Randy Wittman is so old school that, health of players be damned, he’d want nothing more than tax his horses hard and ride a strict 8-to-9 man rotation. You’ve wondered: Does Wittman’s recipe for a mojito call for equal parts mint leaves and bone meal of overworked players?

Exactly 305 NBA players so far this season have appeared in at least 16 games and have averaged 10 or more minutes per appearance. Three teams have at least 12 players who qualify: the Spurs (12), known for conservation to the point of getting fined by the commissioner; the Wizards (12); and the Knicks (13).

Ten teams have 11 players who qualify; nine teams have 10 players who qualify; five teams have nine players who qualify; and Cleveland, Houston, and New Orleans round out the list with eight players who qualify each—seemingly minor differences, but everybody, and every body, counts. To note, seven qualifying players have been traded and all were counted toward their original teams.

Surely the 16 games, 10 minutes thing is a loose requirement that doesn’t necessarily account for injuries, etc. But the numbers also speak to Washington’s depth and Wittman’s willingness to use it. Maybe he’s also learned how to preserve his studs a bit more, too.

Three hundred and thirteen NBA players (313) have played 225 or more minutes. Twelve play for the Wizards, six of whom are in the top 100 in minutes per game. John Wall is 10th in the league minutes per game, Bradley Beal is 49th, Marcin Gortat is 100th, Paul Pierce is 124th, Nene is 161st, and Rasual Butler is 195th. Meanwhile, the Spurs have eight players in the top 100 in average minutes per game.

Both Wall and Beal have missed significant time in their careers due to stress injuries—they played so much, seemingly, that their bones started to crack. Now, all of such in the past wasn’t on Wittman—blame an active summer circuit, too. Or, just chalk it up to chance.

Wall’s 36.1 minutes per game this season is the fourth-lowest of his five-year career (but slightly above his career average of 36.0). In his third, injury-shortened season, Wall averaged 32.7 minutes over 49 games. During his rookie season, he averaged over 40 minutes per game in March and over 38 minutes per game in each November and January—Wall hasn’t topped 38 minutes per game in any month since.

Beal is averaging 32.9 minutes per game this season—less than last year’s 34.7 (due to injury), but more than the 31.2 minutes he averaged during his rookie season. Of course, in November of his sophomore season (2013-14), before Beal experienced his own stress injury, Wittman played him 40.4 minutes per game over 12 contests that month. The most minutes Beal has averaged per game over a month since is 36.8 (February 2014).

The Wizards are relatively healthy this year, so go knock on some wood. Some of it could be due to changes in a much-maligned training staff. Some of it could be due to cool new technologies provided by Ted Leonsis, such as a zero-gravity treadmill and other devices to help players recover faster. Some of it could be due to the fact that Wittman, equipped with more job security, no longer feels that he has to rely on a limited number of players (roster depth or not). Some of it could be due to the coach’s hand being forced—he’s expressed plenty of prior chagrin when asked about playing time, usually conveying that he has no choice in the matter.

Whatever the case, and again, I don’t want to jinx it—don’t believe in jinxes—Washington finally seems to have found a comfort zone with keeping players on the court. So far.

[Stats via Basketball-Reference.com]


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Kyle Weidie
Founder / Editor / Reporter / Writer at TAI
Kyle founded TAI in 2007 and has been weaving in and out the world of Wizards ever since, ducking WittmanFaces, jumping over G-Wiz, and avoiding stints on the DNP-Conditioning list. He has covered the Washington pro basketball team as a member of the media since 2009. Kyle currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.